I highly recommend reading Warren Buffett’s most recent letter regarding the donation on 23rd of June (4.1 billion). It’s on the Berkshire Hathaway website, and if it doesn’t resonate with your capitalist heart, it means that all your efforts to be a better person and a true capitalist are in vain. In my opinion, it doesn’t mean anything if you make a lot of money and don’t have any concept of appreciation; you’ll just be part of the crowded road of jerks that become jerkier when they get more money. I’m not a writer so I need as usual an appropriate stoic to help better explain what I mean:
“If only the hearts of the wealthy were opened to all! How great the fears high fortune stirs up within them.” (Seneca)
Doing the right thing is appreciating what you achieved. If you manage to get good results by just doing your job (for example, you made a good investment and successfully completed your task), why don’t you just silently and humbly move on to the next task? Move on to the next thing, without having to take credit, bragging or looking for a recognition for simply doing what you are supposed to do. In a nutshell, just do your job. Do it consistently, happily. Be thankful that things, big or small, are going in the direction you planned or wanted. Don’t think you need to become a different person. Take the next step; do the job at hand. And try to do it right again. Remember, many people are also trying to find success (following the same steps as you) but for many different reasons they are incapable of achieving good results. Think about others and make a reasoned choice about what you have, especially if you have more than you need, and think how to make good use of it.
When I encourage you to think like a true rich person or to be like Buffett, that’s what I have in mind. That’s the happiness and peace of mind I visualize in taking the high road: to pursue with honesty your own goals, whatever they might be. In the end, we all want to be happy, independent, free to apply reasoned choices to our lives. To put it in a few words, we want to be a better person than we were the day before, and if possible, leave the world a better place than we found it. As the stoics would say, we want to behave and think like a “philosopher”. Buffett is the most famous and well-known example of the good a rich investor/philosopher can do for a society by giving back what his talents produced, in terms of wealth. This ‘true wealth’ was accomplished over many decades, while living a happy life, doing what he likes the most: investing. Everyday. Without stopping and indulging in self-celebration or becoming complacent (the biggest danger around the corner for many successful people and businesses). “If only the hearts of the wealthy were opened to all!” If you can pile up extra-money that is of no use to you, you can easily give 99.9 percent away. Or you can be useful to others in many ways, not only with your money… even when your name is not Seneca or Warren Buffett.
P.S: Happy investing everyone. And when I say everyone I really mean everyone. Because remember : blikebuffett and Value Investing is more a “How” than a “How much” .